APRIL 16 , 2013
Red Eye Interview about Hunger Strike with Dave – 20 minutes on Rabble.

“Pidgin is genesis of a last stand in the DTES”, says Dave. Important to stop developers like Anthem, city’s rezoning from Carrall to Clark that will bring more condos and displacement…. Save on Meats is the “brand” for Anthem Properties who bought the building….Business Associations are trying to tar the actions going on in the community but there’s so much more going on, it’s life and death for people and the community….Pidgin was also chosen as a picket site because of the idea of colonization. Brandon Grosetti, the majority owner of the restaurant said he carefully planned the restaurant, including every detail, including the name of the restaurant. The name pidgin means “contact language”, but it involves colonialism especially as it is across from pigeon park, where the most vulnerable people in the region have their living room. He is saying with this name that his pidgin will supplant our pigeon...

APRIL 11, 2013


Media Advisory – DTES Hunger Striker presses Police Chief Chu on demands (PLEASE COME)

For Immediate Release – April 12, 2014

Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories: Today is Day 22 of “Homeless Dave’s” Hunger Strike for social housing and to stop involuntary displacement of people and the Downtown Eastside community caused by gentrification.

Come to a media conference in front of the empty police station on Main near Hastings at 1:45 to get an update on Dave’s hunger strike campaign and his meeting with Police Chief Chu that will happen earlier at 1:00pm near the site.

Where: 312 Main Street

When: Friday, April 12th 1:45PM

Why: Update on meeting with Police Chief Chu

Dave will ask Chu if he will join the community to demand the empty police station at 312 Main become social housing instead of a “high tech business hub.”

They will also discuss the violent assault against Dave and other gentrification protestors at the Pidgin Restaurant that happened last night.

One of Dave and the community’s three demands is to (1) get 100% social housing at the former cop shop on Main St. with a community-directed space focused on women and aboriginal people in recognition of the horrific damage done over the years by the Vancouver police at that site.

The other two demands are (2) 100% community-directed social housing at the Sequel 138 condo site with a healing and wellness centre and (3) That the city declare the Downtown Eastside a “Social Justice Zone” along with policies to make it happen.

The hunger strike demands are endorsed by: Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Cecelia Point of the Musqueam Nation, Aboriginal Front Door, Butterflies in Spirit, Carnegie Community Action Project, Downtown Eastside Power of Women Group, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council, Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users and Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction.

More info: Wendy 604-839-0379

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MARCH 22, 2013


For Immediate Release:  Hunger Strike at Pantages Condo Site & Pidgin Restaurant
Starting:  March 22, 2013

Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territories:  “Homeless Dave,” a formerly homeless Downtown Eastside resident with diabetes began a hunger strike at noon today in front of the Pantages Sequel 138 condo project at 138 E. Hastings.  “Mayor Robertson’s old business, the Happy Planet, couldn’t afford to be in this city and got pushed out,” said Homeless Dave. “I think this juice is appropriate for me to drink during this hunger strike.”  Dave will also drink sage tea.

“I’m like many in the community and so I’m going on a hunger strike, even with a serious health condition, diabetes,” said Homeless Dave. “Gentrification is intensifying; the housing crisis is deepening, and the health of the people and the land are under serious threat.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.” 

Vision Vancouver is encouraging the development of high-end stores and condo developments from Carrall Street, through Oppenheimer, all the way to Clark Drive.  Homeless Dave, along with many other DTES residents, are concerned that the city’s planning process may make major changes to land-laws (zoning) and encourage even more high-end stores and homes, doing very little stop rapid gentrification.  

Homeless Dave said:  “There are 850 homeless in the DTES and 5000 SRO rooms need to be replaced with social housing in the area. We’re losing low-income housing faster than we can replace it.  Last year, 24 new social housing units opened up, 170 condo units were built, and we lost 425 low-income housing units to rent increases.”  

This latest wave of displacement is nothing new. Many people who are discriminated against in society have been forced into or out of the DTES because of various forms of stigma and profiteering:  First Nations and particularly Indigenous women, Japanese, Chinese, Black community of Hogan’s Alley, migrant workers, Latin American refugees, retired working class labourers, seniors, the unemployed, disabled, transgendered people, drug users and sex workers. This cycle must stop now.

As DTES mentor-activist Jean Swanson said recently at a City Council meeting, what’s at stake is the "displacement of the neighbourhood that is the soul of Vancouver, the base for human rights struggles," the place where one man told us "It’s the first place I ever found with people who are comfortable with who I am.”

Many battles for social justice have been fought in the DTES.  The struggles will continue but the battle for land, right now, is pivotal to this community’s health and existence.  We are at a crossroads now and Homeless Dave will be there with DTES residents and many supporters behind him.

What are the demands?
The hunger strike has a symbolic start beginning on the International Day to Eliminate Racism, Homeless Dave’s birthday and the first day of spring. This hunger strike calls on the municipal and provincial governments to give DTES residents a signal that they are serious about a) stopping gentrification, and b) providing sufficient and adequate social housing.  Homeless Dave will not eat until these short-term demands are met:

1) Sequel 138 – The City of Vancouver agrees to not give Sequel 138 condo developer Mark Williams a development permit.  BC Housing stops supporting developers and cancels their cheap loan for building condos on the Pantages site.  Instead, we demand this land be used for 100% resident-controlled social housing for the people of this community, with space for much-needed amenities (e.g., a health, treatment/healing and wellness centre).  

2) Police Station – Because of the horrific negligence of the Vancouver Police Department in the disappearance and murders of so many DTES women, we demand that this city owned property be designated for 100% resident –controlled social housing and the establishment of a community-based social justice centre determined by low-income DTES residents, especially women, Aboriginal people, drug users, survival sex workers and their groups.   

3)  Social Justice Zone – The DTES is declared by the city to be a social justice zone and the policies are put in place to support it.

How will the “hunger strike” work?
Homeless Dave will help picket the Sequel 138 Condo site from noon to 1pm from Monday to Friday.  He will also help picket the Pidgin Restaurant from 6pm to 8pm Tuesday to Saturday. 
Sage Tea and “Happy Planet” juice will be ingested (one 13 ounce bottle of Happy Planet juice a day for diabetes).

Regular weigh-ins with his health team will happen weekly and a report on his weight and health will be emailed to the media and community networks.

For more information:   Wendy Pedersen:  604-839-0379; Tami Starlight:  604-790-9943

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